Monday, April 25, 2005

Clones......Where is the individualism?

Me and my boy Dave have two regular drinking events during the week. One is our favorite diaquiri shop where the bartender adds and extra shot of Crown Royal to our picture of beer. The other is the lake on Sunday evenings basically because it's free. While we were sitting out watching everything going on yesterday, we came to one obvious realization....Everybody around us was acting the same way. Now, I know there are trends and fashions that become common with an entire group or certain groups of people. I am not talking about the way they dress, although all those guys can't tell me they are possibly comfortable with their pants hanging down past their knees. I'm talking about speech, music, mannerisms and everything that makes you a unique individual. Personally, I think the majority of them are faking. They are just scared to admit to liking certain things or wanting to do certain things out of fear of getting talked about or being considered strange. I'm not just talking about teenagers either. There are 40 year old men that talk like they are 15 and if it wasn't for the grey hairs in their heads and face, you might think they were that young.
Did it ever occur to anybody that in the last few years black people have become the opposite of everything we are perceived to be? I mean, we are supposed to be the creative, expressive people that push the envelope of art and popular culture. Now, we are simply caricatures of our own stereotypes and we love it. Check the TV, radio, and magazines and you will see the same brother doing the same thing over and over. If you had 25 men ages 20-25 in a room, the only person that would know half of them from the other is their mother. There's just nothing that makes them stand out besides the color of their paint job and the position of their gold teeth. Sisters are no different. Most of them all seem to be talking, walking, acting the same way and liking the same man. We have just become a people full of clones. Just like the Roots said, we are duplicated and imitated clones.
I'm no clone. I don't hide who I am or what I do. My name is Cliff. I am 30 years old from New Orleans. I like Crown Royal, Millers, crabbing trips, strip clubs, the Saints and professional wrestling. Hip hop is my favorite music but I also like Billy Joel, Nirvana , Jimi Hendrix, any old R&B (album collection is on fire!) and even Christina Aquilera. I'm real nostalgic and emotional and songs that remind me of my family make me cry. I like to sing and dance but I am flat footed and usually off key. But, I do it anyway because I don't care if it sounds good or not. That's a condensed explanation of who I am. I am the same way all the time and proud of it. How many of us are depriving ourselves of the enjoyment of being who we are and experiencing what we want to because we are trapped in the cloning cycle.

Mind Blowin Volume 4

Due to GG's recent discovery of television, I am starting to watch Sesame Street again. They are still showing the same skits from 25 years ago from when I was 5. I guess they figure kids won't know. It's not like they were here. Fellas, the day you turn off the NFL draft and the NBA playoffs to watch an Elmo tape is the day you can consider yourself a man and a father.

I know most hip hop connoisseurs are declaring Common's new album to be a classic and that is probably true. However, I have heard some of the Royce tracks from his new piece and I am not so sure his won't be a classic too. Of course, he will get no airplay, no BET, or MTV but it would still be nice if an album like this at least went gold. That means we can't bootlegs the classic sh@t if we want the music to grow. Go to and check out the song Politics featuring Ceelo.

Speaking of Common, when the album does come out, all the sisters running behind these full time hustlers buy the CD and listen to the song Testify. If that song isn't the truth then nothing is.

Has Flavor Flav been kicked out of Public Enemy yet for Strange Love? It's not the fact he was in love with an old white woman that kicks him kicked out. It's the fact he let the powers that be exploit him like that. Did he listen to the lyrics of any of his own records? I watched that show waiting for Professor Grif and the S1W's to run in and kidnap Flav to take him to the Drop Squad. I'm sorry, but as a 30 year old black man that was 14 when It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back was released, I hold those guys to a higher standard and VH1 and Flav went too far.

Who is Mike Jones? Shouldn't he know the answer to that already? Why would you spend money to buy a Mike Jones ringtone? Why would you spend money to buy any ringtone? If you have a full time job, most of the time your ringer is not on anyway. If there is any man or woman over the age of 25 that has paid for a ringtone you should be ashamed of yourself.

Playoff Time

Nothing happened last week or today to either spark my interest, change my life, or upset me to the point of fainting. Basically, everything was normal and boring. That's just what the doctor ordered. Since I have nothing to talk about, I might as well give you all my predictions and review of game one from the NBA playoff series.

Eastern Conference
Heat vs. Nets - The only way New Jersey has a chance in this series is if they find some inside offense to make Shaq play defense. Since they don't have any player on their roster that can do that, I am predicting this one to be over with in 6 games. Miami wins 4-2. You have to give Jersey two games because Vince will be unconscious for at least one and they will all play well in the first home game.
Pistons vs. Sixers - I love Allen Iverson. If Philly wins one of these games, he deserves the MVP hands down. This is the worst matchup of the playoffs. Lets go with Pistons 4-0 in this series. The Sixers have no shot.
Celtics vs. Pacers - The Pacers have the pride but judging my the first game, I don't know if they have enough offense to beat Boston. Indiana will fight hard but this one goes to Boston 4-2. I still say the league should give Atlanta something to basically having to give away Antoine Walker for nothing.
Bulls vs. Wizards - Neither one of these teams have allot of playoff experience. I like the Wizards in 7 games because of Gilbert Arenas and Antwan Jamison but I wouldn't be surprised if the Bulls won. There is a direct relation to the Bulls success and the fact that they have allot of players that played at big time college programs. Duhon, Hindrich, and Ben Gordon have already played in front of larger crowds than the NBA has and with just as much pressure.

Western Conference
Suns vs. Grizzlies - I'm still not sold on the Suns. I just can't bring myself to jump on the bandwagon. However, they will sweep the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have no one player that can take the game over in crunch time and that's big in the playoffs. Lets get this one over with so Stromile Swift can start looking for houses in the New Orleans area.
Spurs vs. Nuggets - The Nuggets took game one with Tim Duncan on one leg. I hope you don't think the proud islander is just going to roll over and let the Spurs lose. I just can't see Tim Duncan losing in the first round unless he is in a wheelchair. Lets go Spurs 4-3.
Sonics vs. Kings - This is going to be a fun series to watch. The Sonics took game one but Mike Bibby was cold. I think Seattle wins this one 4-3 but don't count Mike Bibby out. Never count out Mike Bibby in round one. I just think Seattle has more fire power than the Kings. Did I mention not to count out Mike Bibby?
Mavericks vs. Rockets - This series is a toss up but I will go with the Rockets in 7 games. It's time for Dirk Nowitski to be exposed. I am so tired of all these people thinking these Euro players can come in and lead teams to championships under NBA rules. That stuff works with the trapezoid lane in world play, but the NBA playoffs are basically street basketball with referees. Unless they change the lane size in the NBA, any team with a foreign player as the main player will always lose. They are simply not physical enough to play with these guys.

So that is Heat, Pistons, Celtics and Wizards in the East and Rockets, Sonics, Suns, and Spurs in the West. Lets see how right I am.
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New Look

Ok, I have finally settled on a template I like. I will try to keep this one longer than two weeks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Top Five Songs

1. Must be Nice - Lyfe

2. So What - Gerald Levert

3. Be - Common

4. Conversations - Mannie Fresh

5. Neck of the Woods - Baby and Lil Wayne

Mind Blowin Volume 3

I have lived in New Orleans my entire life and I love this place. However, this has got to be the first time I have felt this much despair and frustration with everything about this town. Nothing seems to be going right and no one seems to care. I personally think that we could fix it all if we broke away from Louisiana and became our own district like Washington D.C. That way we could keep all the money we put into the pie for ourselves and further cripple the rest of the state in the process. I will explore this more later.

The cardinals elected a new pope that is almost as old as the old pope. I hope they still have the logs that made all the smoke this time. They may be using them again soon.

The NFL draft is this weekend and you can tell my life has changed. I haven't bought one magazine or subscribed to one draft site this year. I guess the Saints finally managed to run me away from the sport I love all together. Congratulations Tom.

The NBA is trying to run me away too. If the Nets go to the playoffs, the Toronto Raptor fans should riot the NBA offices. How does the NBA allow this kind of thing to go on? If guys would have been able to get away with this kind of foolishness when I was growing up, World B. Free would have never completed a season.

What in the hell is the hold up with sending Michael Jackson to jail?

Can you buy a hip hop magazine that is fair and balanced? I have about 100 copies of the Source and at lately, I haven't been able to buy it in the past year without getting pissed off. Too much beef and propaganda and not enough focus on the music. Hip hop has too much drama.

There is pop hip hop, there's gangsta rap, and then there are songs that make you remember why you started devoting your life to this music 20 years ago. Please take a moment and listen to Be, by Common. Listen to it over and over.

Speaking of over and over.....I want an investigation done to see if radio DJ's even play songs themselves anymore or just talk between a tape of pre recorded music. I like Fantasia, but there is no way the person in that booth can play Free Yourself every 20 minutes and not get bored or go crazy.

In my intelligent but humble opinion, there is not a more stupid phrase someone can tell you than "Someone always has it worse than you do". How does that make you feel any better? I don't want anyone to have it bad. Seeing a homeless man under the bridge does not make me feel better about my messed up credit. It just makes me wish I had enough money to rescue him from under the bridge.

Friday, April 15, 2005

We've Lost That Loving Feeling

I was driving on the way to work listening to a CD I made full of love songs. I was listening to James Ingram's One Hundred Ways. I started thinking when was the last time I heard a guy my age express that kind of feeling or do those kind of things for a woman like James is singing about. When was the last time I heard one of my boys or a brother my age say "man I love that woman of mine"? I am not sure if I have heard that in the last few years. Where is our outward show of affection? Many of us think it's weak to show that kind of affection. We are so bad at doing this, that women have started to not worry about it either. My dad gives my mother cards to celebrate weekly and monthly anniversaries. I grew up watching them hug, kiss, dance, and any other way he could show her affection. What happened to my generation? I have a few ideas.

The lack of fathers in our homes means that most brothers never got to see that kind of affection between a man and a woman close up.

Right or wrong, most brothers have the idea that the woman in their lives is there because of something other than "him". Maybe that's because sisters always look so miserable when there is something out of line in a man's life. You lose your job, don't have a car, credit is messed up, or don't live up to her "standards", that puts allot of stress on everything. You just can't be romantic under pressure.

The Hotgirl/Hotboy images that are pushed through videos and music that take all romance out of any interaction between young people. Even most of the slow songs are about something other than love.

The fake macho, thug images that young guys take on doesn't lend itself to allot of touchy, feely type moments. How many guys with tattoos on their necks are going to slow dance in the middle of the dance floor.

We have to get back to showing some emotion in our lives. There is nothing wrong with being affection to your lady, or your kids, or even your friends. That doesn't make you soft.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Orleans Parish Schools - Breeding Ground for Hopelessness


Another two to three years, another superintendent has resigned from Orleans Parish Schools. Mr. Amato should not feel too bad. He was in a no win situation from the beginning. The bottom line is this, no matter what businesses come to town or how many police we hire, or where you move, the New Orleans school system will be the one thing that keeps this city stuck in depression and crime. It is so sad and disappointing that in a city like this we can't find enough competent and honest people to run the school system without stealing money or using political power to further their own cause. Meanwhile, we are sending hundreds of men and women into the streets of New Orleans without any skills to be successful or hope that they ever will be. We are just leaving them alone to drink, get high, and have sex to breed the next generation of hopeless citizens. I blame every single person of this city including me. Our indifference has made it easy to let this happen. The mayor, city council, parents, students, teachers, and anyone else that makes their home here needs a share of the blame.
I think it's time to let an outside contractor come in and run the business side of the system while a committee of educators from the city straighten out the educational side. I am not for anyone from the state having hands on contact with this system at all. Personally, I think if this state wasn't so racist and segregated they never would have let the school system become what it is. They have sat back for the last 30 years and watched it deteriorate because none of their kids had to go to school here. Now they are trying to come in with the white horse and save the ignorant Negroes. It's not the Negroes they want to save, it's the federal money that is in jeopardy because New Orleans is so inept that it is effecting the entire state's funding. If it wasn't for that fact, no one would care about the crisis of this school system. Someone would just build a gate around the city to keep the animals out of the suburbs and make sure they didn't go to the French Quarter to mess with the tourists. No wonder people in this place have to work three jobs. You need one to pay bills, one to buy food and gas, and the other for private school tuition to rescue your children.

Top Five Sons-----Ignorant Negroe Helpers

1. Wake Up Reprise in the Sunshine - Brand Nubian

2. You Must Learn - Boogie Down Productions

3. A Day of Outrage - X Clan

4. Break the Grip of Shame - Paris

5. Prophets of Rage - Public Enemy

Monday, April 11, 2005

Mind Blowin Volume 2

  • I watched the end of the Masters yesterday. I don't care if he calls himself cablasaisan or not. There is something about watching Tiger win at that sport that gives me some pride. He doesn't show it, but deep down he knows his significance. There is no way he can be that close to his daddy and not understand that.

  • It's never good to hate anybody so I don't hate Baron Davis. I just wish his back locks up in the middle of a dunk and he hits his head on the backboard causing a concussion.

  • Man, this Pope process is a long one.

  • The NFL draft is coming up and I can care less. I am still on my Saints boycott.

  • I know he is crazy and likes young girls, but Robert Kelly is a one creative, but ghetto dude. That Trapped in the Closet song is great.

  • There is no sadder sight than watching Flavor Flav act like an idiot behing Bridgette Nielson on Strange Love. It wouldn't bother me if he wasn't a member of Public Enemy. I guess Young MC or Tone Loc wasn't available for this gig.

  • I had three free Hornets tickets and still didn't go to the game. Did I mention that I wanted Baron Davis' back to lock up on him.

  • Does it reflect negatively on me if I say the only show I watch on BET right now is Uncut? Can you be over 25 and enjoy anything on that channel anymore? And if you are 35, and rush home to watch 106 and Park, you might need to re-evaluate that a little.

Crime in the City

Well, I know I said I was going to be negative but I have to touch on this subject. The streets of New Orleans appear to be going crazy again. There are shootings at schools, shootings on the interstate, and people being set up coming out of courthouses. All of this seems to familiar. That might be because for the last 15 years this has been happening year after year. If you drive through the city every day and look around, you will see hundreds of adult men, young and old, standing, and sitting around with nothing to do. They have no jobs, they have no skill, and they have no direction. All of this leads to criminal activity and conflict which leads to murders in broad daylight. We are in a terrible situation. Some of these men will not make it to 25 years old. Others will be incarcerated or addicted to some sort of drug that will render them useless. The hopeless feeling comes from the fact that almost all of them are having baby after baby putting more children into a system of racism, lack of education, and poverty, guaranteeing that the next generation will be just as bad but with more sophisticated weapons to kill more people with. That's the problem and I have no idea what the solution is.

It's Me Again

I am going to try this again. I have been so weighed down with negative stuff and sad events that I have not been able to bring myself to write or post anything new. I am going back to the bright colors, taking off all that black and moving on.

Sometimes I have to tell myself that I am only 30 years old and I have allot of life left to live. I can't stay stressed all the time.